Archive for November, 2015

Wow Your Staff With These Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Your employees are a big part of your business’s success story. So understandably you want to make them feel appreciated. A special and memorable gift is a great way to show your thanks for all they do. Why don’t you take advantage of the gift giving season to wow your staff with a clever and perhaps unexpected gift.

When you want to show your appreciation for all your employees have done for you, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of clever gift ideas sure to fit every need and budget.

Williams-Sonoma Wine Collection

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Chances are you work with someone who appreciates wine. WIlliams-Sonoma offers a varied collection of wines in a number of price ranges starting at $50. Each collection is centered around a theme and includes tasting notes and complimentary recipes.

Percy the Pencil Porcupine

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

It’s so cute! This is definitely not a gift you should consider for the more straitlaced individual in the office. But for the colleague that enjoys adorable and functional desk wear this little porcupine has a point. Little Percy can hold pens and other slender utensils all while keeping a smile on his face, and he comes with a not too shabby $19 price tag.

Juniper Bonsai

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

A little greenery is a great addition to any office so a desk-friendly plant makes an appreciated gift option. On that note take a look at this Juniper Bonsai. It’s not your average indoor plant. Steeped in tradition, a bonsai makes an unforgettable and even “interactive” gift for anyone on your list. This one comes in its own glazed ceramic pot atop a rock humidity tray for $34.99.

Personalized Sports Wall Prints


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If you have that one staff member that can’t get enough of their favorite team then a gift of one of these personalized wall prints could go over well. Each print sports four jerseys from official MLB or NFL teams that feature three favorite players names and numbers of your choice. The fourth jersey can be personalized with the recipient’s last name to make them feel a part of the team. Prices vary depending on size but starts around $69.95.

Apple Breakfast Tote

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Gift baskets are an easy gift that almost always goes over well. But might we suggest a gift basket idea that’s a little unexpected? Instead of the usual cheese or chocolate, this gift tote comes loaded with a delectable morning spread. Apple Cinnamon pancake mix, apple butter and cinnamon maple syrup come packed in this canvas tote for $29.99.

Yard Dominoes

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Here’s a gift that gives some outdoor fun. These yard dominos are made from solid wood and handcrafted in the U.S. The set comes with its own drawstring jute bag for convenient storage and portability. This may be one gift your employees won’t see coming but has potential to please. Available for $59.95.

Compendious Coffee Chart

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Here is a gift for the coffee lover without actually giving them coffee. The Compendious Coffee Chart is an elegant piece of wall art displaying all the many ways this favorite morning brew can be, well … brewed! This unique gift will run you $29.

Word Stone Nests

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Cute and simple, these word stones nestled in their own individual nests would make a good gift for the staff member that likes a touch of whimsy on their desk. Pick the inspirational word you think the recipient would like most and you’ve got the makings of a cute and inexpensive gift. Available for $12.

Antique Camera Clock

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

So it’s not actually antique, but this desk clock is anything but expected. It can’t point and click but it does tick and tock. Made from metal to look like an old camera with a clock face instead of a lense, the camera desk clock is sure to be an attention grabbing gift. Priced at $51.99.

Personalized Wood Luggage Tag

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

If you have a traveler on your list one of these personalized luggage tags could make an excellent and budget friendly gift. Constructed from alder wood with a brown leatherette strap, the tag can then be laser engraved with the recipient’s initial, name and any four line personalization on the back for $12.95.

Terroir Pocket Knife

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Perhaps a pocket knife is not the most clever gift idea, but how about one with an elegant and rugged design? Originally designed in Northern France this pocket knife is far more eye catching than one you would pick up at the local hardware store. With a solid rosewood handle and handy stainless steel blade it’s beautiful, functional and not too bad on the wallet at $18.95.

Cheese & Crackers Serving Board

Clever Employee Gift Ideas

Clever with a touch of humor this Cheese & Crackers board is made for serving…well…cheese and crackers! Made from North American maple, this witty serving board is covered with a teak oil finish, making it an attractive addition to the home or office of any party host. You can purchase this useful and amusing gift for $48.


No matter who you’re buying for you want your gift to be memorable and make an impression. These clever employee gift ideas are a good place to start looking in your search for gifts that will impress your staff and thank those who have helped make your business a success.

Why not choose the item that not only fits your budget, but won’t easily be forgotten?

Employee Gift Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Wow Your Staff With These Clever Employee Gift Ideas” was first published on Small Business Trends


Parliamentary Committee Approves Bulgaria’s 2016 Draft Budget

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The Budget and Finance Committee of the Bulgarian parliament approved on Monday the draft government budget for next year.

The chairperson of the committee, Menda Stoyanova, proposed the planned cuts to the social benefits of police officers, which had been the cause of large-scale protests across the country earlier in November, to be dropped.

In order for the proposed cuts to be finally withdrawn, the MPs will have to reject them at their plenary sitting on Tuesday.

Apart from the 2016 draft government budget, the committee also adopted the draft budgets of the State Social Insurance and the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK).

The three draft budgets are expected to be discussed in the plenary chamber on Tuesday, daily Dnevnik informs.

The committee voted in favour of the increase of pensions by 2.5 % starting from 1 July 2016.

The unemployment and maternity benefits will retain their 2015 levels, respectively BGN 7 per day and BGN 340 per month during the second year of maternity.

The committee also approved to increase the salaries of officials of the National Social Security Institute (NOI) by a total of BGN 2 M next year.

The committee also decided to increase the funding allocated to culture by BGN 10 M, with the funds to be split between the culture ministry and the municipalities.


Obama Expresses Regret to Putin Over Downed Su-24 Bomber

Monday, November 30th, 2015

US President Barack Obama expressed on Monday regret to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the downed Russian Su-24 bomber.

Putin and Obama met on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is taking place in Paris between November 30 and December 11.

The meeting between the two presidents lasted for about thirty minutes, TASS news agency informs.

The meeting was not planned beforehand and was held behind closed doors, with the two leaders discussing the situation in Syria and Ukraine.

According to Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson of Putin, the two presidents spoke in favour of moves towards the start of political settlement in Syria and highlighted the importance of the earliest possible implementation of the Minsk accords.

The last time Putin and Obama met was at the G20 summit held in the Turkish resort of Antalya on November 15 and 16 when they had two meetings.

They also met on the sidelines of the anniversary session of the UN General Assembly in New York in late September.

The relations between Russia and Turkey have deteriorated in the past week since the downing of the Russian Su-24 warplane by Turkish F-16 fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border on November 24.

Ankara maintains that the Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace and was warned ten times before being shot down.

Moscow claims that the airplane was exclusively in Syrian airspace and no warnings were issued.

On Sunday, Putin signed a decree introducing a set of economic sanctions against Turkey in response to the incident.


BigCommerce, Xero Partnership Adds Cloud Accounting to Online Stores

Monday, November 30th, 2015

data entry in xero bookkeeping

BigCommerce and Xero are combining their talents to produce an easier business experience by automating data entry into Xero bookkeeping software.

BigCommerce provides search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, promotions and coupons, email marketing and multi-channel marketing. The online store is hosted on a secure server with features such as a checkout cart.

“Business owners start companies to focus on their passions: selling great products and marketing their brand. They don’t want to spend countless hours managing company finances and complicated technology integrations,” said Tim Schulz, Chief Product Officer of Bigcommerce. “This integration will bring peace of mind and free up time and money to spend elsewhere – a significant value for resource-constrained retailers.”

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Xero provides cloud-based accounting software to small businesses. The company offers fast bank reconciliation, inventory, payroll, easy invoicing, and can create purchase orders, among other services.

Xero has created a linkage that allows businesses to hook up with Xero Integration (by CarryTheOne) – Accounting Sync. This is made easy to set up with set by step instructions. It gives small businesses the ability to automatically import orders into Xero, inventory support, automatically generate credit notes for orders that are returned, multiple currency support and more.

Chris Ridd, Managing Director of Xero Australia says, “Xero’s accounting software is powerful when it’s connected to other core business services like Bigcommerce. This integration is free, easy to access, and gives online retailers a complete picture of their critical sales data and finances, enabling them to grow their business quickly and seamlessly. Xero and Bigcommerce working together will save businesses time and effort. They can check the health of their business at a glance, from any device and at any time.”

Until now, all the data from a business had to be entered manually in Xero’s cloud software, but with this literal connection, all small businesses using the BigCommerce platform are relieved of this burden and are free to focus on growing their business. Other e-commerce platforms may follow later.

Image: Small Business Trends

This article, “BigCommerce, Xero Partnership Adds Cloud Accounting to Online Stores” was first published on Small Business Trends


Vice-President Georgieva: Restricting Free Movement of People Will be Harsh Blow to EU

Monday, November 30th, 2015

According to European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, restricting the free movement of people in the EU will be a harsh blow to the Union, as it constitutes one of its pillars.

Commenting on the ongoing refugee crisis, Georgieva expressed hope that the EU has the capacity to deal with it.

Having a population of 507 million people and accounting for 20 % of the global economy, the EU has both the financial and human resources to deal with the refugee crisis, she said in an interview for 24 Chasa daily.

According to her, the problem was stemming not from the refugees themselves, but from the short-term vision of each member state to pursue its own salvation.

As regards the forecasts predicting the disintegration of the Union, she reminded of the unfulfilled prophecy on the demise of the euro which had been circulating in the beginning of the global financial crisis.

However Georgieva admitted that the current crisis was more difficult as it concerned not only money.

In her words, the EU had to overcome its fears, demonstrate courage by adopting a long-term vision and work together despite the pressure of critics.

She identified the need for a reliable database on the people entering the territory of the EU as the most important measure in the fight against terrorism.

Georgieva highlighted that until the end of the year the European Commission will make a proposal for creating a common system for guarding the external borders of the Union.

It will have the aim of both distinguishing between refugees and illegal immigrants or terrorists and preventing the restoration of the old borders between the member states.

In her words, compared with developments in the neighbouring countries, Bulgaria was behaving with dignity in the difficult situation facing Europe.

The vice-president reminded that the solution of the Greek crisis came only when European leaders realised its existential nature, which led to them uniting in order to overcome it.

As regards the improvements recorded by Bulgaria in the absorption rate of EU funds, with the country currently ranking second in the EU in this respect, she commented that this factor was not enough for establishing a strong economy.

In her words, an economic growth could be generated through the creation of a strong investment environment, which would attract not only foreign investors to the country, but also direct the money from the banks to the real economy.

According to her, the investment plan for Europe was very suitable for countries like Bulgaria characterised by many savings and few investments.


The folly of the break-even oil price

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Oil’s drop shows methodology does not determine price floor

Vitol close to deal with Libya’s state oil company

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Trader to help deliver fuel to war-torn African country

US debate over solar tax credits heats up

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Renewable energy industry faces tough times if key support is reduced as scheduled at end of 2016

Beijing and New Delhi choke on smog

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Toxic fog envelops capital cities at the forefront of runaway economic growth

Bulgarian PM Calls on Mayors to Increase Taxes Due to Rising Security Expenditures

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov called on mayors to increase the local taxes in view of the expected rise of the state expenditures on security.

Borisov noted that the EU is changing its course and will be allocating more on security, with the Union expected to exercise stricter control on EU programmes and projects.

In his words, the latest terrorist attacks necessitated increase in the expenditures on armament and security, with Bulgaria also to allocate hundreds of millions to these fields.

The prime minister warned mayors that the fiscal discipline of the state depended on them, calling on them to be very careful in the implementation of projects financed by EU funds.

They had to be especially careful in conducting public procurement procedures and the absorption of EU funds.

According to him, even if only one or two municipalities were to mess something up this would reflect on all the others, which would necessitate fiscal corrections to the state budget.

Borisov called on the mayors of the large cities to refrain from populism and increase the taxes in order to stop burdening the government budget as had been the case until now.

At the same time, the taxes for smaller settlements and villages should tend to zero, daily Dnevnik informs.

As regards security, Borisov pointed that an increase in the expenditures on warplanes was expected as there were plans for the repair of old aircraft and the acquisition of new one.

He reminded that the government was conservative in this year’s budget, but for next year more funds will be allocated to security, the relevant services and facilities on the borders.

His expectations were for the state to demonstrate a similar fiscal discipline next year, as had been achieved in 2015 through improving the collection rate of the revenue agency and customs.

Borisov pointed that this year there have been additional allocations of BGN 151 M to pensioners, BGN 185 M to the interior ministry, BGN 56 M to the defence ministry, BGN 105-106 M to tobacco producers, BGN 50 M to stock breeders, BGN 100 M to the repair of motorways

He also expressed readiness to discuss the possibility for fiscal decentralisation.

The prime minister made these comments at the opening of a two-day conference entitled “Perspectives for local authorities and the new programme period”, which will be attended by Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, Regional Minister Lilyana Pavlova and Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva.